Light driven microactuators : design, fabrication, and mathematical modeling
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This dissertation is concerned with design, fabrication, and mathematical modeling of three different microactuators driven by light. Compared to electricity, electromagnetic wave is a wireless source of power. A distant light source can be delivered, absorbed, and converted to generate a driving force for a microactuator. The study of light-driven microsystems, still at its early stage, is already expanding the horizon for the research of microsystems. The microactuators of this dissertation include micro-cantilevers driven by pulsed laser, photo-deformable microshells coated with gold nanospheres, and a nano-particles coated micro-turbine driven by visible light. Experimental investigation and theoretical analysis of these microactuators showed interesting results. These microactuators were functioned based on cross-linked, multiple physics phenomenon, such as photo-heating, thermal expansion, photo-chemistry effect, plasomonics enhancement, and thermal convection in rarefied gas. These multiple physics effects dominate the function of a mechanical system, when the system size becomes small. The modeling results of the microactuators suggest that, to simulate a microscale mechanical system accurately, one has to take account the minimum dimension of the system and to consider the validity of a theoretical model. Examples of the building of different microstructures were shown to demonstrate the capacity of a digital-micromirror-device (DMD) based apparatus for three-dimensional, heterogeneous fabrication of polymeric microstructures.